Passion and energy of a virtuoso accordionist: Saria Convertino

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Saria Convertino - Conservatorio Santa CeciliaSaria Convertino was born in Mottola in 1987. She graduated with Honors in 2008 at the Conservatory “Santa Cecilia” in Rome, with the Professor Massimiliano Pitocco. In March 2011 she won the “Premio delle arti” at the conservatory N. Piccinni of Bari held by the MIUR. In 2009 she won the National Competition Soroptimist International d’ltalia “Talenti per la musica 2009″. In 2008 she won the Premio Via Vittoria, held for the 5 best students in the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. She worked with Nicola Piovani and Angela Pagano in “La Guardiana del Faro” at the Teatro dell’Angelo in Roma. From 2008 she has worked with the actor Cosimo Cinieri and with him she opened at the Parco della Musica e Radio Rai3 Auditorium with “Pessoa in Rapsodia” and in the Teatre Ofreo in Taranto with “Ciao Cecè”. She performed in duo with M° Pitocco in Roma at the Accademia di Francia and in the Conservatory “Giuseppe Verdi” in Milano. She was a guest by Mancuso brothers at the Teatro Argentina in Rome, playing for the first time “Simmu Acqua” by Marco Betta, commisionated by the Accademia Filarmonica Romana. She played “Hymnen” by Stockhausen, for electronic solo accordion at the Gardens of the Accademia Filarmonica romana, in collaboration with the Conservatorty “Santa Cecilia” in Rome and the Conservatory “Giuseppe Verdi” in Milan. She performed as soloist for the “Ravello Festival 2011″, for the exhibition “Notti d’Estate a Castel Sant’Angelo 2011”, for the “Festa Europea della Musica 2011” at the Macro Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Rome, at the Theatre “G. G. Arrigoni in San Vito al Tagliamento (PN) “, for “Parma Lirica”, for “Musei in Musica”, fo the exhibition “ Concert by Candlelight” in the Chiesa Anglicana di S. Paolo entro le mura” in Rome, for the Accademia Filarmonica Romana in the “Sala Casella”, in the Isola Tiberina in Rome for the “L’isola del cinema e le cinergie” , in Rome for the “Soroptimist International d’Italia” in the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, for the “Galleria Italarte” in Trastevere, for the “Ministero della Gioventù” in the Palazzo dell’Esposizione in Rome, for the MIUR in the Campidoglio in the “Sala Esedra dei Musei Capitolini”, for the “Festa Europea della Musica2009, for “Telethon 2008 Sail for life” in the Sala Accademica del Conservatorio Santa Cecilia.


Surely One of the most promising and emerging accordionists of the moment. How did you come to the instrument and how it feels to be one of the few women who decide to devote herself to the accordion?

For the public it is fascinating to see a woman playing the accordion, because it is always associated with a male figure. I was 8 years when I had a lightning strike… I fell in love watching my cousin play his accordion.

Since then I approached the study of this instrument like a game, becoming day by day a passion.

Make it a profession is my greatest satisfaction.

What has most fascinated at the beginning and as you continued your studies?

At first I was fascinated by the bellows … growing up, I realized that manage it was the real difficulty of this instrument.

On the physical level requires a lot of energy, its weigh is 14kg, it’s like having a baby in your arms but is the wonderful feeling you, hugging, and fatigue all at once disappears.

Initially I took lessons in Mottola (TA), in the land of my birth; then in 2000, I became a student of Gianluca Pica in Anagni, who prepared me to international competitions, so winning the 2003 Junior Coupe Mondiale in Slovakia.

After this wonderful experience, my desire to grow increased enormously and I felt that the new way to go was the Conservatory.

Massimiliano Pitocco was suggested to me like teacher, at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome.

I was afraid to find a stern teacher, the beard and the white hair ..but I was greeted by a young and solar teacher  who believed in me, and from the beginning it has been established a relationship of esteem and respect. Thanks to our work we could finish the academic route faster, reducing from ten to three years of studying, with excellent results: full marks and honor.

Today you are involved in many projects, also very different. What are the different feelings and emotions that give you?

After graduation and the two-year specialization in accordion, I felt the need to play with other musicians: so I decided to enroll in the two-year chamber music with Maestro De Matteis.

Share the music, since the evidence, the choice of repertoire are an opportunity to grow up and learn.

I consider myself a very versatile musician, so as to have carried out several projects: the accordion duo with Massimiliano Pitocco, the duo of “Music of the South” with percussionist Umbi Vitiello, the “Tango Project, El Aliento de l’Alma” Accordion & String Quartet with the Musicians of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome.

With each of them live always different feelings … music has the power to evoke an atmosphere, to revive a memory in us, who are the architects at that time and in all people who listen to our music.

In Your path you won a lot of competitions. How have you faced and how you believe they can improve a young performer? What have you helped?

Since I was a teenager I have always approached each contest with sacrifice and dedication. In fact, at the same time to the study of the accordion, I attended the high school, which as we know requires great commitment.

I have always been strict with myself in the study, trying to reach the perfection, and this allowed me to go on stage with dedication, trying to always give the best of me.

The rewards were many: from competitions Music Varieté, I mentioned before, the competitions of Classical Music, as well as the “Prize for Music Talents 2009″, a national competition which involves all 21 regions of Italy. This win was a great joy, because I represented while two regions: Lazio, (according to the Conservatory of belonging, the “Santa Cecilia” of Rome), and Puglia, my home region, which is always in my heart.

Each competition allows you to compare with yourself and then with others. Demonstration was its “Award of Arts in 2011, organized in the Conservatory” Piccinni “in Bari, which I won and  I faced with a load of considerable stress, because soon I would have graduated from the MA Degree in accordion.

When you sit in that chair “boiling” the tension mounts, the adrenaline with it. But I have always faced a competition like a concert, closing my eyes and trying to express myself through in music.

I must admit that the level was really high, and when I was named the winner of the competition I was incredulous, because the goal that I had asked was to give the best of myself by investing all my energy, not create me expectations. This victory gave me a bit of self-esteem, important component on a personal level as well as musical.

The competitions have an important fairly, they are nice windows that let you connect important working relationships, which were those established with organizations such as The Philharmonic Academy in Rome, Teatro Argentina in Rome, and to collaborate with Maestros like Piovani, Cinieri, Coltorti, Pagano.

This year you have collaborated with orchestras such as “Chamber Orchestra Benedetto Marcello” performing the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, BWV 1041 by Johann Sebastian Bach, and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Benevento with Opal Concert by Richard Galliano. How does it feel to work with the orchestras? Do you think our instrument could one day have a rich repertoire in this capacity?

Surely it is a great feeling to feel supported by the carpet harmonic of the strings. I wanted too long to realize this project, and like all dreams “come true if you believe in.”

I hope that our instrument can have a new literature in these terms. To judge by the success that is having more and more in music festivals, I would say that promises a bright future.

Saria Convertino - Conservatorio Santa CeciliaFrom Several years near to the concert career you have also undertaken by the teacher. What was it like to move from “school desk” as a student to the “teaching post”? Is it very enriching to stay in contact with the young future accordionists?

When I signed my first contract at the Music School of the l’Aquila and the Santa Cecilia Conservatory, I was just 23years. I still remember the day of the withdrawal of the register with my name on it, I had a fever of 39 cause the emotion!

I am increasingly aware that being a teacher, it is a great responsibility. Transmit to children the potential of the music, the way to approach the world of music and expand their horizons, offering the technique to perform and compete to find out the strength of the universal language of music, this is my purpose.

You have now gained considerable concert experience. What is the secret to face without anxieties and fears the public?

Each concert is always a new emotion. A real secret I haven’t, just seeing the place where I will try to play even as the repertoire at home, imagining being on stage.

So I focus, letting go to the music… the end I ask myself every concert is communication … get over the instrument, as well as the stage, creating a bridge between me and the public so that it can bring that emotion in heart forever.

A composer you love mostly  and why …

Johan Sebastian Bach and the brilliant light of his music, which seems so immediate that you believe made without any premeditation …

It goes into our ears, and the pervading mood. Like the air, the sky, the breath are things that we do not think about, but they are our life energy. This is undoubtedly the summit of perfection.

What is the music in terms of emotion for you? How do you feel when you grab the instrument?

The emotion is really everything to me. When I play in public I am convinced that it creates something very special between me and the public. Surely I’m not saying anything new, but I think the meaning of art is in full communication with others.

I feel immersed in this great energy, perceive their own, and I feel privileged in transmitting it to others. I feel that I have much to say at that time, also on myself and I prefer to express myself playing instead of talking.

People who have been fundamental in your career.

Definitely my family, who always supported me and “endured”.

The Years of the Conservatory were wonderful, shared with my sister, figure always present in my life … every night we came home from class accordion with 14kg on her back, she was ready to soothe fatigue spread on it hot oil.

Moments of life and gratitude that cannot be forgotten.

I believe it is essential for the success of a career, have a family in the first place that believes in you, and together with them also your teacher, Massimiliano Pitocco.

With him I always way to grow up and learn, from the time of the rehearsal, to prepare a concert, to see his meticulous organization of the music- parts that make it a professional musician. It is a great strength for me, comparing with him, for every aspect of life, both musical and not.

His school, which I am proud to represent, is one of the most important in Italy, and I believe also in the world. His education and his modesty are qualities incomparable, rare to find in a teacher

The Most beautiful memory of a concert?

I was in the beginning of my career as a concert soloist, and I was invited by ‘A.Gi.Mus. Grottaferrata.

He came a school of folk dancers and age of my parents, ready to dance, thinking that I would have performed with folk music.

I was still very shy and, as I said before, I preferred to express myself playing. In that context I was “forced” to do an introduction to the instrument and to the classical repertoire that were about to hear: Bach, Boellmann, etc …

I noticed a sort of amazement in their faces. I started playing fearing soon the audience would be halved. To my surprise, at the end of the concert they were all there, and a couple in particular came up to me and said, “Miss, we were really come with the intention of dance but his music surprised us, letting us know the potential of his instrument, leading in other dimension…Thanks!” I think it’s the best compliment I have received, especially when you realize that you got to be the soul of people.

Autore: Samuele Telari

Samuele Telari ha scritto 32 articoli.

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